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Thursday, June 09, 2005

 

the widening net


the four-year aipac investigation has spread to include several other instances of lawbreaking -- and centers now on the office of special plans at the pentagon.

Based on those briefings, officials said, the bureau appears to be looking into other controversies that have roiled the Bush administration, some of which also touch Feith's office.

They include how the Iraqi National Congress, a former exile group backed by the Pentagon, allegedly received highly classified U.S. intelligence on Iran; the leaking of the name of CIA officer Valerie Plame to reporters; and the production of bogus documents suggesting that Iraq tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African country of Niger. Bush repeated the Niger claim in making the case for war against Iraq.

"The whole ball of wax" was how one U.S. official privy to the briefings described the inquiry.

... Officials at the State Department, the CIA and other U.S. government agencies long have suspected that the Pentagon has pursued its own Middle East policy, aimed at overthrowing hostile regimes.

"Policy officials in the Pentagon repeatedly bypassed the normal interagency process, and there are questions about whether they also may have tried to mobilize Israel's political influence in Washington to lobby for some of their proposals, especially on Iraq and Iran," one of the administration officials said.
douglas feith, michael ledeen and william luti are all mentioned under suspicion. given the recurrence of these familiar names, justin raimondo -- who is covering the investigation prominently -- is given to speculate, "If we observe how we were lied into war with Iraq, and by whom, the whole affair looks more like an Israeli covert operation by the day." while that may be a bridge too far, it does look very much like illegal subterfuge undertaken by the neoconservative clique -- whose nexus stretched between feith's office and the vice president's -- may have been arranged within a larger plan.

of course, the existence of a spy ring transiting american secrets to israel -- or even an exposure of a group of high-level politicians and operatives in fact pursuing the policy aims of the israeli government -- is no guarantee of a meaningful housecleaning. as ha'aretz reported (via raimondo):

"Sources close to the case say the prosecution posed four conditions to AIPAC, which would guarantee that it would not be involved in the indictments: a change of working methods to ensure that such incidents don't happen again; the firing of the two officials and public disassociation from them; no offers of high severance or anything else to make it appear the two quit of their own volition; and no financing of their legal defense."

"AIPAC has abided by the first three conditions – and the severance pay offered the two was considered very low, considering the many years they worked for the lobby. But it is said to be helping with their legal fees, indirectly, through its own law firm."
such leniency in violating the proscriptions of justice department prosecutors does not bode well for a dogged, determined investigation.

laura rozen's piece -- which comes in for some criticism by raimondo -- lays out the course of events surrounding larry franklin and the possible directions of the investigation.

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